The ACT government has dismissed the Australian National University's offer to host quarantine on campus, saying an earlier assessment ruled it unsuitable.
The university is increasingly feeling the pressure of its 3000 international students stranded overseas who are frustrated that their huge fees are paying for substandard remote learning.
Shanghai-based science student Tony Yan is one of the frustrated students regretting the high cost of their course.
"If I knew this status quo last year, I wouldn't just defer, I would immediately withdraw from ANU and happily start a life in another university," Mr Yan said.
"I stayed at ANU with the hope that the border would open. I love the Aussie living, but this bureaucracy is wearing my patience thin."
According to Mr Yan, his degree will total about $188,000 in enrolments and $60,000 for accommodation.
[It] is an absurd amount to pay for the privilege to join Zoom meetings.Tony Yan
"[It] is an absurd amount to pay for the privilege to join Zoom meetings. I often search the internet for hours or wait for days for an email reply, struggling to understand a concept, whereas on campus, I could just ask the person next to me and it takes two minutes," he said.
"To make things even worse, I've been in two-hour long workshops where it is dead silence in Zoom while seeing tutors constantly talking with on-campus students."
Despite recently ending its hotel quarantine contract with Pacific Suites, the ACT government said the university wasn't a suitable alternative because it didn't meet national requirements.
"While we are more advanced at managing and controlling these outbreaks, hotel quarantine is still deemed by health experts as the most effective way of limiting the risk to the broader community," a government spokesperson said.
Unlike the escalating situations in India and Indonesia, China has largely managed to contain outbreaks this year, with the World Health Organisation reporting just 19 cases in the country of 1.4 billion over the past 24 hours.
The ANU put forward a number of options to government to allow students and travellers to quarantine at its facilities, including using student accommodation at the university's cost.
International student department president Benedict Chin said he received complaints from international students almost every day.
"I wouldn't say everyone has just gotten used to remote learning, it's still really difficult without that in person component. We understand that it is an uncertain time and a special situation but it is also a lot of money they are paying."
He said the uncertainty around Australia's borders reopening has seen some ANU students consider applying to study in the United Kingdom or the United States next year.
An ANU spokesperson said university staff were working hard to provide the best possible study opportunities for overseas students.
"But we know many of our students are now at a critical point. That's why we want them back on campus."
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